Trumpy is blaring to go in his Super Bowl debut


January 31, 1993|By RAY FRAGER

It's not as if there isn't already enough pressure in the Super Bowl, but NBC had to go and add some more.

Let's say you're a player, coach or official in today's Titanic Tilt (and if you are, thanks for taking the time to read this on such a busy day). Not only do you have to be concerned about performing at your best in the Ultimate Game, but you also are going to be scrutinized by NBC analyst Bob Trumpy.

Trumpy, who ascended to the network's No. 1 analyst spot this season when Bill Walsh returned to coaching, takes up where the old instant replay rule left off. Upon further review, he's not shy to say, you blew it.

This is Trumpy's first Super Bowl as a television analyst, though he's worked a couple on radio. In any case, he's not likely to change his style, a large part of which is forceful opinions. Looking for a '90s kind of guy, the non-judgmental type? Don't look to Trumpy.

This can get overbearing at times, especially when he seems bent on seeking out controversy where none is. But, in a television world sometimes populated by ex-players and ex-coaches who would no more criticize their former colleagues than they would don moose antlers and recite "Bullwinkle" scripts in Times Square (though, for all I know, that job already might be taken), Trumpy stands out.

Like a power hitter who either strikes out or smashes a warehouse window, Trumpy can be fun to watch. As long as he's being more Reggie Jackson than Sam Horn.

In a news conference on Thursday, NBC pre-game show host Bob Costas was asked if he had offered Trumpy advice heading into the NFL Struggle for Supremacy.

"Trump is beyond advice," Costas said, "because Trump is going to do what Trump is going to do. Trump occasionally gets into trouble in some people's eyes for stating his opinion a little too strongly."

Play-by-play announcer Dick Enberg said of his pairing with Trumpy: "I'm kind of colorless. I'm vanilla. He's rocky road."

Enberg, a solid professional, was being a little hard on himself -- I always thought of him more as butter pecan -- even if he is best known for the exclamation, "Oh, my!" And Trumpy plans to lean on Enberg, who will be calling his fourth Big Bowl Bash.

"He's the lead mule," Trumpy said. "I'm going to follow very closely behind him. Early in the game, you're going to hear a lot of Dick Enberg and very little Bob Trumpy."

During the 2 1/2 -hour pre-game, you're going to hear a lot of Costas. Viewers should savor his presence. This will be Costas' farewell appearance as host of NBC's pro football pre-game show.

"You'd be very smart wagering this won't be the last Super Bowl I'll be around, but it'll be the last I'll do as primary host," said Costas, who has been the anchor of the network's NFL pre-game program for nine years.

Costas is also host of NBC's NBA pre-game show and of "Later," an insomniac's delight of a one-on-one talk show that has aired after "Late Night with David Letterman." Costas' contract with NBC expires after this year, and his often-stated goal is to get back to doing baseball, something he's been without since CBS took over major-league telecasts in 1990. In the future, Costas said, he'll be broadcasting baseball, working in another sports context and doing something outside of sports.

Meanwhile, one more time, Costas will get the nation through the final hours of pre-game hype with, as he puts it, "a twinkle in the eye."

He will agree that sometimes America takes its sports too seriously.

"A lot of coverage of sports plays into that," he said.

"I take being prepared [for the broadcast] seriously, but I don't think the future of Western civilization turns on the outcome."

Surely, he can't be speaking of the Rumble at the Rose Bowl, Pigskin Armageddon, Football's Fabulous Finale, The Battle for the Holy Grid Grail. Good thing this guy is getting out.

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